Vaccinations for children aged 5-11 in the capital area will begin in the Laugardalshöll indoor arena on Monday, but not in schools like previously scheduled, mbl.is reports. Staffing shortage due to quarantines and isolations made the original plan harder to follow than previously expected.
According to Director of Nursing with the Capital Area Healthcare Clinics Ragnheiður Ósk Erlendsdóttir, the current wave of omicron infections affects medical staff like any others, and they realised they were too short-staffed for the original program. “Plan A was to administer the vaccine in schools if everything went according to plan. Plan B was to move to Laugardalshöll if we were getting short-staffed, and that is the one we’re currently following.” Administering the vaccine in Laugardalshöll means that it can be done with less staff, as they would all be in one place instead of spreading out over the city’s schools. Mass vaccinations for adults were administered in Laugardalshöll.
Following a risk assessment, they found that the most significant risk factor was staffing. “80-100 people are out every day these days, and the number is only getting bigger. That’s the risk we’re responding to,” Ragnheiður told mbl.is.
The plan is to start the vaccine program at noon and end the day by six pm. That way, the children could attend school in the morning but have the afternoon off.
According to Ragnheiður, the Laugardalshöll space will have to be adjusted to the children coming in for vaccinations. The older children will be grouped in the hall, while private spaces will be prepared for the younger ones to give them the time and space they need during the process.
Children’s Ombudsman Salvör Nordal had previously announced her concerns over vaccinating children in schools. She told mbl. is that while she considered the Laugardalshöll indoor arena a better choice, she still thinks the healthcare clinics are the most appropriate location. “We consider the healthcare clinic the best choice for vaccinations for this age group, but Laugardalshöll might have some advantages over the schools. If they use the space wisely, make it warm and child-friendly and call children from the same school at different times, they could make sure that friend groups don’t arrive together and that school staff isn’t aware of children’s vaccination status,” Salvör told mbl.is.
She also reiterated the importance of parents talking to their children and explaining what’s going on. The office of the Children’s Ombudsman has cooperated with the Chief Epidemiologist’s office to create reading material for children in easily understandable words that they can read themselves. “They must be conscious of what’s going on, and we know it, see it, and hear it, that children have wondered about this covid thing all along. It affects them in so many ways,” Salvör stated.